For the Foodie Inside

In Staycations by LA Travel Magazine

Los Angeles is the melting pot of the fad diets, peopled by pole-thin models, and is notorious for frowning on over-indulgence. But now with amazing restaurants throughout multiple signature neighborhoods like Melrose, Beverly Hills and Hollywood it contends as a top foodie destination.  Some of the best dining experiences are right in our own back yard with killer restaurants like The Rooftop, The Cellar and my favorite A’s.  When you are looking for something different and dare to venture past the Orange Curtain, West Hollywood is a foodie’s paradise.  Award winning chefs from all over the world have come to expand their culinary aspirations in the glamorous city now referred to as WeHo. Restaurants here have a reputation for being on the cutting edge of culinary excellence so we decided to do some research and check out the latest and greatest offerings in the movie making Mecca.
We drove down the palm-lined streets of Beverly Hills, past the houses of the rich and famous, and along Robertson Street for glimpses at luxury boutiques and celebrity eateries that we were set on experiencing.
The Thompson Hotel came highly recommended and being that the Thompson Hollywood was sold out (thanks a lot Coldplay, how dare you play at the Hollywood Bowl during our visit) we opted for the next best choice, the Thompson Beverly Hills.  I knew the popular boutique property would be nice, but once you step in the door it really hits. You’ve arrived, Beverly Hills style. Pulling into the drive, valet quickly opening my car door I notice right away the hotel is sleek with a cosmopolitan appeal, particularly for those travelers who want to enjoy a bit of the see-and-be-seen crowd.  An outpost of cool, with staff members who look like models and a clientele that is not far behind.
With affordable room rates (well for Beverly Hills standards) it’s an easy way to buy into the jet set. With chocolate wood floors and contemporary slate gray and dark accented décor, the rooms look very masculine. They’re spacious and bright, with floor-to-ceiling windows; our room came with a great view of the Los Angeles skyline.
When the door of the elevator opened to our floor I was surprised, the hallway was dark mysterious and left you intrigued.  What was my room going to look like? A dark man cave? As we entered the room, I instantly started to check out the amenities, it had a large flat screen television, a decent sized kitchen and living area, a soft luxurious bed, amazing furnishings, and a nicely stocked mini-bar.
After whipping up a cocktail from the mini bar, we threw our suits on and headed up to check out the pool. It’s all about the rooftop. The pool deck like our room boasted spectacular views of downtown Los Angeles. The pool is surrounded by cabanas and lounges, which were already claimed by an array of seemingly airbrushed guests.  It was lunchtime and we were starving so we ordered a few more cocktails, the Chopped Veggie Salad and the Short Rib Grilled Cheese.   Both were above and beyond the average pool side menu offerings.  Especially the grilled cheese you will definitely be craving this meal again later…think late night room service menu.
We decided to hit the town after relaxing by the pool all day.  Our concierge recommended a great spot called Tortilla Republic, a short drive away located in West Hollywood. Mexican sounded good to me.  Upon arrival we ordered the Tuna Tartare and Flautas to start.  The food was colorful and well presented pair that with the chic décor and friendly service staff and I think we have a winner folks.
For our entrée we went with Chicken Fajitas and Shrimp Pimpian, we also had a few margaritas to compliment our meal, skinny margaritas of course.  How else do you balance off the Flautas?  To end the meal we had to order the churros with chocolate and caramel sauce.  Shot of tequila to finish? This restaurant offers a tequila flight, which is a wonderful way to educate your palate in the diversity of the delicate world of tequila options.  One tequila, two tequila…hmm, I wonder where this night is headed?
The next day after popping a few advil, it was off to Rodeo to satisfy the shopping aficionado deep within.  After seeing the price tags I decided to window shop.  A girl can dream.
For lunch we scored a table at The Fig and Olive. In a city that churns out a new trendy restaurant as fast as they spin out the new A–list celebrity of the moment, The Fig and Olive is a rare phenomenon.  If the service and quality of food stays consistent this restaurant will be here for a very LONG time! The theme is centered around local and imported ingredients focusing on flavors from the South of France, Italy and Spain.
After meeting the sommelier an extremely knowledgeable wine enthusiast we were convinced.  It was time for some wine tasting.  Our server Rob along with the sommelier really made an impression with the perfect suggestions to pair with our menu choices.  My favorite was a Sauvignon Blanc from France with hints of Passion-fruit and Guava.
We started with three different crostinis.  The first consisted of Manchego, Fig and Marcona Almond, the second Prosciutto, Ricotta, Fig, Olive and Walnut and finished with the Mushroom, Truffle Artichoke and Parmesan. Wow!  That is all I have to say about those.  We tried multiple items on the small plates menu from the Tuna Crudo to the Sea Scallops with Truffle Artichoke Tapenade but the breadwinner was hands down the Fig Gorgonzola Tartlet.  A melt in your mouth sensation comprised of warm gorgonzola, prosciutto, fig, walnut, arugula, scallions and tomatoes baked in a puff pastry. Heavenly.
For our entrees we decided on the Penne Funghi Tartufo and Pumpkin Sage Ravioli.  Both were nicely presented and tasted great.  I thought we were going to need help out the door after all that food but we couldn’t leave without trying dessert!  I asked Rob for suggestions and told him how full we were; we needed some cheerleading to get past this final phase.  His response was quick “I’ve got the perfect thing; be right back.” I wondered what I had just gotten myself into.  I was delightfully surprised when he returned with a mini dessert sampler.  What a guy!  The dessert sampler included a mini chocolate mousse, maple crème brulee and a “to die for” praline bar.  From the first impression to our final goodbye the restaurant held true to the reviews we had read prior.
It was time to walk that feast off so we hit the streets of Melrose to window shop and people watch.  By the time we had walked to the end of Melrose my feet were throbbing, stilettos were a bad choice for an afternoon stroll.  Taxi! Oh yes I took a taxi back to the car, I’m an OC girl, I don’t walk anywhere I drive.
Back at the hotel the sun was shining and the pool was calling our names.  I could lounge up there all day.  After a few hours we were hungry; I don’t know how but we were. For dinner a foodie friend of ours suggested Delphine, located inside the W Hollywood we were curious so we booked a reservation and headed on over.  Walking in your immediate thought takes you to a living room, a place familiar but you’re left wondering where the nostalgic feeling comes from.
We kicked off the meal with our signature the Raspberry Lemon drop Martini which was shaken well and served with a sugar rim.  Now we’re talking!  Starters included the Ahi Tuna Poke and Hummus.  As I sampled the hummus and freshly baked pita chips my mind wandered back to my first trip out of the country exploring the Greek countryside.  I love when certain foods bring back great memories.  I noticed a man approaching each table; seconds later he wanders over to ours and introduces himself.  He was the General Manager welcoming us to the restaurant and asking how our appetizers were.  After giving our compliments to his team, we asked him for suggestions on the entrée choices.  Without a second thought he immediately recommends the Filet Mignon which we were already leaning towards.  Done deal!
We placed our order and continued our conversation.  Our gracious host seemed more than happy to entertain our questions and provide dessert suggestions.  Oh yes there would be dessert!
Our filets arrived and we couldn’t dig in quick enough.  Both plates were beautifully presented each with different sides so we could try multiple options.  When I took my first bite of the 12oz Grilled Bone-in Filet Mignon it was perfection.  Accompanied by Potato Mille-Feuille (think Au Gratin), Grilled Oyster Mushrooms and topped with Caramelized Shallot Jus.
From what we heard and after experiencing, Desserts here are intense and very American.  Ending the experience with sinful yet amazing bread pudding and a chocolate peanut butter surprise in a cup was just what we needed.
Heading back to the hotel for our final night I realize its back to reality as soon as we get home.  After all the damage done this weekend I better be prepared to do double sessions all week with my personal trainer.  I won’t be looking forward to it and I will probably curse myself later but it sure was worth every ounce of gym time I am about to commit to.